Today, Darrel would and should be celebrating his 17th Birthday. For 10 years now, May 26th has come and gone without the kind of celebrations that should mark your child's birthday...No Cake...No Candles...No Gifts...No Song...and No Darrel. I will be making my semi-annual pilgrimage to McDonald's for Chicken McNuggets and Apple Juice later today, but other than personal reflection and recollection, there is little more left for me to do. Writing this Blog is a way to keep myself grounded in the here and now, as well as in the past at the same time. On September 9th, it will be a full decade without my son by my side. So very much has changed in that time, and I often wonder how things might have turned out differently if I had never heard the word neuroblastoma. The arrival of each of my children had profound effects on everything I would ever do from that point on, but in light of all that would follow far too soon afterwards, Darrel would and does still have the greatest impact. Every one of us has lost a family member or other loved one, but losing a child IS different, and watching your child take his last breath right before your very eyes is most devastating of all. Knowing all that you did just wasn't enough, and all that you can ever do will not change what has happened stays with you in ways impossible to describe. But for today, I can and will remember that smile, that laugh, and that love that was and always will be Darrel.
Since I haven't blogged in awhile, there are a few things to mention...
- Back in November, I had a surreal experience one night. When I was walking by the Girls' room, Lauren was sitting on the floor cleaning up things (that almost never happens, but that's not what I'm talking about). When she glanced up at me, for a second I thought, and it most certainly felt like it was Darrel looking back at me! I think I must have lost some of the colour in my face, as Lauren asked me if I was feeling sick. Being brother and sister, there were always some similarities, but for a brief time that day, there seemed to be so much more of a connection. After not seeing his face in front of me in over 9 years, it was both a happy and sad moment. Regardless, I'm glad it happened.
- Each Winter, the Township usually floods a Park or two, and makes them ready for Public Skating. I can't recall them ever doing Stait Park before, but that did indeed happen a few months ago. Stait Park had always been under-used and under-appreciated before the renovations took place, and knowing that our fund raising in Darrel's name helped to make that transformation possible is somewhat heartwarming. The Park is now active year around, and continues to thrive. People passing by might not know who the Darrel Robb on the sign was, but I do!
- In March, Darrel's big sister Kira turned 20! It continues to be a shame that Darrel will never be with us again to share in these family milestones.
- Although the legal process is still ongoing with Darrel's mother, there was a significant step forward, with a resolution concerning Darrel's cremated remains. With the Status Quo, the remains staying solely in the House, being unacceptable to me, I had sought to have the matter legally dealt with. I am more than pleased to say, Darrel is once again under the same roof as his sisters and me. A Sort of Homecoming happened on April 20th, which I am grateful for. The way this matter was dealt with, and the fact that it had to be legally dealt with at all, is most unfortunate, but the end result is one that allows me to move on.
- Childhood Cancer Canada has revived their Childhood Cancer Hero Program, and Darrel's name will be included once again on the latest shirts. I have not received mine as of yet, but it should be arriving shortly.
- I usually at this time repost the "Missing Darrel" video I made years ago, but can not today. Warner Music has had YouTube block the video, due to the use of Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird". This has happened 5 times now, and then it is periodically unblocked. Perhaps I'll be able to Share it again in the future.
- The Darrel's Playground website passed 38,000 Hits threshold yesterday. Thank You!
- Thoughts and Prayers for a Dear Friend who is now on their own journey fighting against Cancer. Big Hugs!
In conclusion, I'd like to once again say thank you to everyone who helps to keep Darrel's memory alive by visiting this page, or following us on Facebook or Twitter. It means a great deal to me that he still resonates in some way with friends, family, and strangers alike after all these years. While Darrel was certainly most unique, far too many children share a similar journey as my son did. Please consider doing what you can, when you can, and make a difference in the lives of the countless children that have, and will follow down a road that no one ever asks to be on. Anything you do will be appreciated in ways you will never know.
Happy Birthday Darrel
Love and Miss You Little Man